Following a decision to team up this season, co car owners Grant Stansfield and Paul Robilliard have well and truly exceeded expectations in what was Stansfield’s maiden season in 410 Sprintcars.
While they hadn’t quite been looking for the opportunity to create a team so much as it just happened to arise, the partnership between Stansfield and Robilliard has proven to be a fruitful one indeed, with the duo having already made a name for themselves following their impressive debut.
For second-generation racer Stansfield, whose family name is synonymous within the Super Rods class, stepping into Sprintcars was somewhat of a lifelong goal, which he decided to pursue after a decade spent in Formula 500s, where he established himself as one of the state’s leading drivers.
Speaking with Robilliard’s daughters Shanae and Sarah after selling his Formula 500, a suggestion was made for Stansfield to purchase an engine to run in Robilliard’s VA # 88 Maxim Sprintcar, with the 54-year-old having stepped away from driver duties after a successful decade-long career in Wingless Sprints, where he won two of the biggest events on the Victorian calendar: the Victorian Title and the Front Row Challenge.
Deciding that this was a great idea, Stansfield quickly purchased a top line engine from fellow Sprintcar racer Grant Anderson and began to negotiate with potential sponsors. While they didn’t expect too much to begin with, it didn’t take long to realise that they were going to be competitive, with the duo coming away with the fastest time in their first ever practice at Ballarat’s Redline Raceway.
From there, Stansfield and Robilliard went from strength to strength, despite experiencing his only crash of the season in the B main during the Victorian Title, his fourth ever meeting with the class, with the determined Warrnambool, Vic-based driver delivering consistent pace, placing fourth in a feature race during the Eureka Garages & Sheds Series round at Wangaratta Speedway, before backing it up one week later at Hamilton’s Western Speedway where he achieved his first major milestone, collecting his maiden feature-race win.
Another season highlight included competing in the hotly-contested Easter Trail, where Stansfield came from position 13 in the final round’s feature race at Premier Speedway to impressively place fifth amongst some stout competition.
Attending the SRA presentation lunch recently, the team’s efforts were rewarded with Stansfield being named the Rookie of the Year and placing seventh overall in the final Eureka Garages & Sheds Series point standings. Travelling straight to the Premier Speedway presentation dinner the same night, the team’s season was further bolstered by Stansfield receiving the Outstanding Achievement award, which also won him the Crossfire XZ250R motorbike donated by Ken and Cheryl Willsher from Laang Park Motorcycles.
“Racing 410 Sprintcars is honestly a dream come true and I’m glad that I made the decision to pursue my goal, because at the age of 29, it was pretty much a now or never sort of decision to step up,” expressed Stansfield, who has received a lot of encouragement from fellow Sprintcar racers such as Stephen Bell, James McFadden, Darren Mollenoyux and Brett Milburn.
“We really didn’t expect to be as competitive as we were during our first season, but with each race meeting I just continued to feel more and more comfortable in the car, which is no doubt a testament to Paul (Robilliard) and the rest of the crew for all of the hard work they put in.
“I love working with Paul and Kylie and I can’t thank them enough for helping to make this dream of mine a reality.”
Through his relationship with Stansfield, Robilliard’s enthusiasm for the sport since stepping away from driver duties has certainly been reignited.
“I couldn’t be prouder of Grant (Stansfield) and everything he and the team have achieved this season,” commented Robilliard, who is based in the Warrnambool suburb of Bushfield and who also owns the team’s transporter in addition to the car.
“Grant works very hard both at the track and away from it and it’s that hard work that has really helped to establish our team and put us on the map – so to speak. I’m looking forward to continuing to work with Grant and seeing what we’re able to achieve in the future.”
Stansfield would like to thank the following 2017-18 season sponsors: P.A. Cartage Contractor Spikins Engineering Classique Homes - Warrnambool Monster Ignitions Lowes Auto Repairs Lethal Race Wings Premium Paint Works Giblin Family Homes Ace Crash Repairs Divine Platters Thomo's Race Graphix
The team is currently in search of support from new sponsors. To register your interest, please get in touch with them via their Facebook page Stansfield Motorsport VA88.
Special thanks go to Paul and Kylie Robilliard and their daughters Shanae and Sarah, Wilbur, Aaron, Peter, Jerry, Jake, Stansfield’s girlfriend Trephina, and his dad Howard.
To find out more about Stansfield and the team, LIKE them on Facebook by searching Stansfield Motorsport VA88.